A Very Brief Introduction to the English Hymns in Grant me, God, the Gift of Singing, 2nd Edition

Most of the hymns in Grant me, God, the Gift of Singing are well-known in Denmark, but some are not. Here is a list of the “unknown” hymns in the order I like them—except that I have collected the seasonal hymns at the end.

Isaac Watts wrote some of the finest hymns ever written in English.

I like tunes that wake me up Sunday morning:

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee is not just a wedding hymn. The tune is from the last movement of Beethoven’s last symphony.

This is my song is sung to the tune from Finlandia by Sibelius.

Through the night of doubt and sorrow. This catchy tune works very well with Ingemann’s text. That the Danish original doesn’t fit this tune is a great pity.

All things bright and beautiful. If you have read (the front covers of) the books by James Herriot, you know this hymn already.

The Church’s one foundation. One wonders why Wesley’s well-written tune is not used for this hymn in Denmark.

Let all things now living. Singing a hymn of praise to the tune of a song of lost love (The Ash Grove) seemed a bit strange at first.

More nice tunes:

The oligarchy of the Danish church may consider these hymns too sentimental, but they are very popular.

Unfortunately, some hymns have to form the end of my list:

The seasonal hymns

Prepare the royal highway is an advent hymn to a Swedish tune.

You must know these Christmas hymns, but I include them here for completeness.

Ride on, ride on in majesty is for Palm Sunday.

Here are some hymns that really celebrate Easter; next to these, Christ arose in glory sounds like a funeral tune.

The Danish version of The day of Resurrection, Grundtvig’s Hør vor helligaftensbøn, is an Easter Saturday evening prayer that we may appreciate the Easter miracle. John M. Neale’s version is a regular Easter hymn. If you know which version is closer to the original by John of Damascus, please explain. At any rate, the tune by Smart is much better than the Danish one.

Now the green blade rises is a beautiful Easter hymn that likens Christ to the growing grain.

Now all the vault of heaven resounds is an Easter hymn to the tune of All creatures of our God and King.

Hallelujah! Sing to Jesus is nice for Ascension Day if Hail thee, festival day is too difficult; and, yes, the first and fifth stanzas are identical.

Then some thanks-giving hymns:

For all the saints is obvious for All Saints Sunday but also suitable for funerals, and I could sing it any time. Vaughan Williams’s wonderful tune also fits the somewhat mediocre Danish translation.

Dearest Jesus, we are here is a Baptism hymn.

Lord, who the night You were betrayed is a nice Communion hymn; and so is Come with us to the tune of Jesus, joy of our desiring.

Some popular wedding selections: